How to Start a Raw Food Diet – Easy Tips & Recipes
I eat a mainly raw food diet and over the course of a couple of years doing that I’ve noticed many benefits. From weight loss to an increase in energy and vitality, to feeling more balanced, it has had a huge impact on my life. Since health is a passion for me, I often find myself speaking to others about it and a question I get asked all the time is ‘How do I get started?”.
It’s easier than you think, and you don’t have to start eating a 100% raw food diet overnight. When you think about your balance of foods, just try to get 51% of your intake to come from raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. This means that for breakfast, add some fruit or make a green smoothie. Green smoothies are a great addition for anyone’s diet – here’s a good basic recipe:
1 cup spinach
1 banana (I like mine frozen – just remove the peel before you freeze it)
1 cup strawberries (again, I like mine frozen)
1 cup water (or you can use coconut water)
1 Tbsp coconut oil (the nutrients in the greens are fat soluble so this helps you absorb them)
Blend in a blender until smooth. Drink and enjoy!
For lunch and dinner, add salads to whatever it is you’re already eating. If you look at your plate, just make sure that at least half of it is raw and you’ll be well on your way to better health. Add baby carrots as a side, try using lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves instead of bread to make a ‘sandwich’. Eating a raw food diet means you get to be as creative as you want with your foods – its really fun!
Snacking is really simple on a raw food diet. The easiest things to snack on are fresh fruits, nuts and seeds but there are some great raw snack bars and treats available as well. Some of my favorites are:
Two Mom’s In The Raw Granola – this granola looks more like granola bars – it comes with 4 bars in a package and they’re full of oats, nuts and dried fruit. Make sure to drink a lot of water when you eat these as part of your raw food diet. Since they’re dehydrated, they’ll dehydrate you if you don’t drink enough water. These make a great breakfast either on their own or crumbled up in a bowl with some almond milk (see below for an easy almond milk recipe).
Lydia’s Kale Chips – these are SO good its hard for me not to eat the entire bag in one sitting, but the good thing about that is even if I do eat the whole bag, the total calorie count is only 150! Leafy green veggies are really important in any diet, but especially in a raw food diet, those dark green veggies are an important source of protein so get them in you any way you can!
Foods Alive Flax Crackers – Before I started eating a raw food diet, I was a chips and salsa addict. It wasn’t unusual for me to just sit down with a jar of salsa and a bag of tortilla chips and eat that for dinner. So finding a replacement for the chips was important and I love these flax crackers for that. They give me that crunch and the salty taste while also giving me great nutrition. Flax seeds are a good source of omega-3’s, they’re high in fiber, and with all of the different flavors I can get, they’re really versatile. On a raw food diet, you can use them on top of salads, to eat with nut butters and dips, or to snack on right out of the bag.
Go Raw Super Cookies – The first time I tried these I wasn’t expecting much. The ingredients list is so short, I thought they couldn’t possibly be good. I was so wrong – they’ve got a great crunch, great flavor, and great nutrition. I do have to be careful I don’t eat a whole bag in one sitting with these though. My favorites are the Spirulina Super Chips – at 480 calories in a bag, I do portion it out for myself, but if you indulged and ate the whole thing its probably still less calories than a greasy slice of pizza.
The more you start adding in more raw fruits and vegetables to your diet, the less you’ll have room for the less healthy foods. Those small changes will start to add up and as you start to feel more energy, you’ll want to be adding more and more raw foods to your diet.
Here are a couple more simple recipes to get you started on a raw food diet:
Raw Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds (soaked in water 8-12 hours)
4 cups filtered water
Blend the almonds and the water in a high speed blender. Strain through a nut milk bag, squeezing all of the liquid out. You’ll get a quart of fresh raw almond milk to enjoy within the next few days. The almond pulp that is left in the bag can be used in other recipes. This recipe is the most basic almond milk recipe – you can flavor it with vanilla if you’d like or sweeten it with dates or stevia. I prefer my almond milk plain.
Zucchini Almond Hummus
2 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 small)
1 almond milk recipe worth of almond pulp
1 clove garlic
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp good quality salt (sea salt, Real Salt, himalayan salt)
3 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon (about 1 large)
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until very smooth. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides to make sure this is really smooth. Serve with raw crackers, as a dip with veggies, or as a filling for a wrap.
For more recipes, here are a few books that I’d recommend: